Harvard Health Letter

When medications make you sensitive to sunlight

Avoid sun exposure or wear sunprotective clothing and sunscreen if you're taking photosensitizing drugs.

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Wear sunscreen, and avoid direct exposure to the sun.

You probably know to avoid alcohol or certain foods that can interfere with your medication. But sunlight, too, can cause a reaction when you take certain prescription drugs, such as some diuretics, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-arrhythmics, antiseizure medicines, and antidepressants. "Most people are not aware that some medications can make them more sensitive to the sun. Unfortunately, they find out when they get a sunburn, especially in the summer months," says Dr. Laura Carr, a pharmacist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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